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X-Blades Review
Review Score:

Due to a recent lack of Hack and Slashers in my big ole’ games pile (now unfortunately consisting of shit and FPS games,) I decided to pick one up before the release and 40 quid retail of Bayonetta, incidentally I picked this game up for a tenner in GAME, not bad for what it is I guess, but I still think I could have bought something more useful, like a kebab.

Unfortunately, due to not owning an Xbox anymore, getting hold of a decent game to play for 5 minutes without having to go through the Playstation store is a pain in the arse, FPS games are too repetitive, RPG’s take too long to start up and Racers usually have long loading times or take a while to find an event, but the Hack and Slash genre is perfect. Short killing sprees with frequent save points is pretty much all you need, and due to the crushing difficulty of games such as Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden, this doesn’t make these features accessible for some people. X-Blades is set aside from these two, despite taking ideas and making them shit from both, the shooting and spells from Devil May Cry and the swordplay from Ninja Gaiden. X-Blades also has its own ‘style’ that being a cell shaded anime affair, which I now have to compare to Borderlands, making X-Blades look terrible, when the truth is, it really isn’t that bad.

Now, where to start…

Ok, so you play as a scantily clad treasure hunter called Ayumi, sounds promising right? Well, it is, Ayumi has absolutely massive and incredibly well rendered spells, her bikini is alright to. The first problem in the game Is her, the voice acting throughout is annoying, teeny, and genuinely a headache to listen to. She sounds like Peaches Geldof mixed with Rouge the bat from sonic, and her 4 or 5 vocal samples for attacking and being hit can really get on your nerves in a tough combat situation. Talking of being hit, the game employs an absolutely ridiculous knockback system, which means that when Ayumi gets hit, she is stunned for a second or two until her sliding back animation is finished, this looks nice, but, when trapped in a tight space and trying to move away, it can be a ridiculous annoyance, simply because, it also happens when you jump, making jumping out of a situation annoying…

The combat is ok, nothing special at all, slashing through enemies feels exactly the same as just testing your attack buttons on the air, with almost no resistance whatsoever, and with just one sword attack button, the ability to pull of combos simply consists of mashing the Square button and hoping that you hit something. The jump attacks are fairly useless, with no ground pound or downward sweep, the closest to the ground pound being the earthquake skill that is bought (forcibly I might add) at the start of the game, you can only pull this off whilst on the ground, despite the fact that Ayumi jumps in the air to perform it, annoying! Speaking of the ground pound, onto the magic…

The magic is decent, again, as with the combat, nothing special, with your average fireballs and lightning swords, it lives up to the cliché that games are all the same, which is unfortunate considering that the idea of a hot blonde anime girl in a bikini slashing the shit out of everything has now been used up in this annoying and downright crappy title. Shooting just feels plain stupid, the lack of being able to run and gun and the fact that the automatic lock on system occasionally goes bat shit and tries to target you the player (most probably having mercy and putting you out of your misery,) just makes it a pointless feature, unless you are willing to stand in the middle of a horde and take hundreds of hits just to take down another unimaginative ‘Phantom’ before it kills you in one hit, is just unreasonable, and god knows why they didn’t just tweak the code and change some animations so that running and gunning could be implemented – hell, it’s not like the guns are overpowered.

The game has more of an arena combat style, where you travel through locations killing seemingly endless waves of enemies, not a problem, but, when you spend about 20 minutes slashing through the same type of enemy, to move onto the next level and spend only 3 minutes on it, it just doesn’t seem right. At around the third level of the game you are thrown into your first big fight, that being against a horde of generic lizard men with knives and a pretty big fire breathing crab like creature that will lock onto you and start bombarding you as soon as you spawn, at this point you are pretty underpowered, and the funny thing is, the next level only lasts two minutes and has about ten enemies in it. Speaking of the level with the crab thing, there is a fallen pillar which quite literally stands at an almost straight angle, which you can run up perfectly, much like you have a low gravity or noclip cheat activated, at least put an invisible wall there, have you learned nothing from the marine base in the opening of the Avatar game? Saying that, this game was released in February last year, and so is nearly a year old, despite looking rather outdated and like a PS2 game, although I’m not sure if it just looks that way because my eyes have been overpowered with the amazing graphics of the fall of last year…

Music wise, well, unless you’re listening out for it, it’s not really something you will notice too much, however, the menu theme is pretty decent, so I suppose that is a redeeming factor of some sorts.

I would expect a few people to disagree with aspects of this review, however, I am expecting to agree with the fact that it’s a game that makes you think ‘I would rather be playing Devil May Cry/Ninja Gaiden/Bayonetta/Call Of Duty/E.T on the Atari.’ My friends will agree with me, and I’m pretty sure you will too.

-Dean Case

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X-Blades Review, 7.6 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
1 Comment
  • James Joell-Ireland
    January 13, 2024
    #1
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    Cracking review buddy. I’ll probably be writing a few pieces soon, with any luck the work here is quiet at the moment, yay!

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